Tuesday, December 3, 2013
December and Rigor
Hello! This is Terri from KinderKapers and it's December! Yea!! or are dreading the time between now and vacation? The kids are so squirrely this time of year and even an elf in the classroom doesn't help (very much). I say if you can't beat them....join them. Use the trappings of the season to engage students and to increase rigor.
Take a simple activity such as making paper chains....okay, simple for us, but not so simple for all. And you start with fine motor practice. Most kids can make paper chains for hours. Now ask them to make their chain with a particular pattern. Today we made abab chains, tomorrow it will be abc, and Thursday is aabb. Are you ready for one more challenge....let's up the rigor. Now tell your students that you want the chains to be a certain length (today it was 10 links long). Then they must tell you how many of each color do they need to make that pattern. Only then I let them get their colors. Simple. Rigorous. I have holiday decorations in my room. Win, Win, Win.
What else can we use you ask? How about Jingle bells? I like to start with a little kinetic fun. Put some jingle bells in a stocking and can your students feel how many bells are inside? 5 seemed to be the magic number. Most of my students could count correctly with five and under. If I put in more than five, their accuracy went down with each increase. Rigor. Any time a students needs to stop and think...that is rigorous.
Can I use jingle bells for anything else? YES! How about a game of missing addend. I take some jingle bells...then have my students count them. Next they hide their eyes and I hide some under a cup. When they open their eyes they must figure out how many are under the cup. Rigor comes in two ways. First, start with a number you know they will be successful with, then up that number. Any time you add paper and pencil it adds another dimension to the task and increases the rigor. I made some recording sheets to go with this activity. I am giving them away here. Merry Christmas!
The Christmas isles and dollar spots are filled with things that will excite your students. I have a little package of presents already wrapped and shiny. I put numbered tags on them and now I have a center for ordering numbers. I found a bag of mini erasers at a craft store and now I can use them to scoop and count, graph, or make patterns. I can use them to talk about more and less or make up story problems. The possibilities are endless and I would love to hear what you have found.
So don't go crazy this holiday season...embrace the craziness, have fun, use all the excitement to keep your kiddos learning.